• Mitt Romney: Yah-huh. Front runner? Seriously? Frankly, this country had trouble electing a Catholic, so a Mormon? Think not. The closest thing to a front-runner, the 63-year-old former Massachusetts governor has business and economic expertise, is solid in New Hampshire, where he finished second in 2008, and can raise plenty of money. The downside: Some Christian conservatives remain skeptical of his Mormon faith; Iowa, the first test, isn’t friendly, though Tom Rath, the longtime national committeeman from New Hampshire, dismisses the impact of a loss there: “No Republican ever wins Iowa and New Hampshire.” Most of all, the Massachusetts health care measure, enacted when Mr. Romney was governor, looks like a state version of the national plan enacted by President Barack Obama. “It’s hard to distinguish the two,” says one of his likely rival candidates. “Most Americans don’t like Obamacare, almost all Republicans don’t.”
• Sarah Palin: Stellar, Republicans, look no further for your um...leader... thingie. This candidacy can only be improved by adding Michele Bachmann to the ticket. Palin-Bachmann 2012? Made of win. You heard it here first, folks. No candidate arouses the passions and intensity engendered by the 46-year-old, 2008 vice-presidential candidate. She is setting the agenda on issues ranging from the proposed mosque near ground zero in New York City to the Federal Reserve’squantitative easing program; she opposed both, others in her party followed. Many voters, and privately, many Republican politicians, question whether she could win a general election or has the capacity to govern. An abbreviated single term as Alaska governor doesn’t reassure.
• Mike Huckabee: Well, y'know, he has Bill Clinton's endorsement -- hah. Maybe back in 2008 Bill would've been happier endorse Mike than Obama. But seriously folks. The man has a radio show and a hit weekend program on Fox News,with an Oprah style daily show in the works, co-hosting with Bob Barker. I'm thinking the Huckster is pretty well set in his cush spot.The 55-year-old former Arkansas governor won the Iowa caucuses in 2008 and grasps popular culture. Had he won the South Carolina primary — he finished a close second to John McCain — he might have been the nominee. If he runs, he would have more competition for the religious right vote, particularly from a Palin candidacy. He isn’t trusted by economic conservatives, who view him as a closet populist. As governor, he handed down more than 1,000 clemencies, including one for a man who went on to kill four police officers in Seattle.
• Newt Gingrich: Really? No, Really? I thought this was a typo. But I guess now that--after two divorces--he has a properly media-friendly wife in Callista Bisek (see photo, right) he couldn't possibly lose, huh? The 67-year-old former House speaker is the most policy-versed figure in the field. He is comfortable and conversant on any subject. Yet in a party that stresses personal virtues, his two messy divorces and ethical transgressions may be disqualifications. “His personal life probably is an insurmountable liability,” Mr. Land said.
• Tim Pawlenty: If the Republicans were looking for their Al Gore, look no further... I'm so sure he'll get the full support of the GOP machine, especially after exhorting them to prepare their own tax returns...The 50-year-old Minnesota governor could be the strongest of the long shots. He meets the conservative litmus tests on most issues and has moved to the right on matters like immigration. He is devoid of hard edges and his working-class roots are an alluring asset. He is spending a lot of time in neighboring Iowa, and David Yepsen, the former political reporter for The Des Moines Register, believes, “He has a style very appealing to Iowa; he could take off.” Still, even his supporters say the likeable Mr. Pawlenty lacks charisma. There are serious doubts that he can raise the $100 million that may be necessary for the nomination.
Mike Pence: Ah, Mike "We are a Nation of Prayer" Pence. Yeah, the evangelicals like this one, huh? Here is a taste of his fresh ideas. "Freeze federal spending immediately." Government shutdown. Very Ayn Rand. Loves it. Ask me what I'M praying for. No president has come directly from the House since James Garfield in 1881. The 51-year-old Indiana lawmaker, a favorite of evangelical conservatives, would be one of the stronger candidates to try. Some political observers believe that Mr. Pence, aware of this 130-year drought, is more likely to run for governor of Indiana in 2012.
• Mitch Daniels: Nev-ah heard of him? Yeah, me neither. Here he is discussing the deficit: The current Indiana governor would bring the most comprehensive and cogent policy prescriptions. A former budget director under President George W. Bush, he has won wide praise from other Republicans and business executives for his six-year stewardship of his state. More interested in policy than politics, it’s an open question whether the 61-year-old Mr. Daniels would be willing to put in the thousands of hours a nominee is required to devote to fund-raising and campaigning in small hamlets.
Haley Barbour: I admit it would awesome to have a candidate from the picturesquely named Yazoo City, but as charming as this Presbyterian might be -- and nice of him to affirm that Obama is not a Muslim-- I just don't see him as a star. There is no one more connected to the Republican political and moneyed establishment than the Mississippi governor and former party chairman. The convivial, portly 63-year-old looks very much like the part of the big-time special-interest lobbyist he used to be, not a winning credential or look. A recent magazine article, in which he praises an old segregationist Citizens Council in the South, doesn’t help.
• John Thune: Who? The 49-year-old tall, athletic, one-term South Dakota senator looks like the ideal presidential candidate. Yet he has no experience in national politics, and the Senate, where his record is very thin, isn’t a much better launching pad for Republicans than the House.
• Rick Santorum: The "Compassionate Conservative?" Oh, NY Times, we're really scraping the bottom of the barrel for candidates now. For those of you who are trying to place him in your minds, I have one name for you: "Terry Schiavo." Need more? Intelligent design, support for anti-sodomy laws, and this stellar comments made in 2006, that many women have disclosed to him that it is more "socially affirming to work outside the home than to give up their careers to take care of their children.... What happened in America so that mothers and fathers who leave their children in the care of someone else - or worse yet, home alone after school between three and six in the afternoon - find themselves more affirmed by society? Here, we can thank the influence of radical feminism." Defeated in a bid for re-election to his Pennsylvania Senate seat four years ago, the 52-year-old stresses his conservative Catholic credentials, assailing John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech on the separation of church and religion from state. Even in the conservative Republican Party of today, it seems unlikely than an anti-Kennedy message would be a game changer.
And because you know I love polls, yes, indeedy, they are already polling in this horserace. Actually in light of the fact that we have no candidates to poll about yet, they're polling YOU and whether you're paying attention or not.
New Dawn of the Dead
In the category of "this oughta be entertaining," Speaker John Bonehead...er Boehner has proposed "For the first time under the House rules, all bills will be required to be placed online. Committees will post their rules and their votes, as well as information about testifying witnesses in an effort to make public any conflicts of interest." Uh. huh. This from an institution that still doesn't have a Twitter feed or official Facebook page. We'll keep you posted on how that works out.... "Requiring bills to be placed online is 'very, very unusual and groundbreaking,' said Muftiah McCartin, a former staff director of the House Committee on Rules."
And in the Dept. of Unsolved Mysteries, perhaps the explosive impact of the words "Speaker Boehner" had something to do with the massive fish and bird die-off just before the Republicans take the helm. Just saying. Coincidence? I think not.
BTW, if you're a new media freak, did you know you can follow Speaker Bonehead on Twitter? I advise creating a special stream just for Republicans so you can tune it out any time your gag reflex becomes too much to handle.
First Zombies, now Vampires.
And dum-dum-DUMMMMM just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, the specter of Dick Cheney rises again. Now that he has a heart...errr... a heart pump, Cheney is dipping his icy toe back into the world of politics. I was especially amused to read the following: "Mr. Cheney’s heart will never beat at full strength again, doctors say. His new mechanical pump, a partial artificial heart known as a ventricular assist device, leaves patients without a pulse because it pushes blood continuously instead of mimicking the heart’s own beat." Cue heartless jokes. Of course, the moment a liberal blogger goes for the...aorta, wouldn't you know that conservatives are all over him talking about "stay classy." Uh-huh. Cause folks on the tea party side have always been classy.
You know looking at him, I think Cheney's problem is he's just not as cute as that Rob Pattinson guy. Now if they could make him SPARKLY, he'd be a heckuva lot more appealing....
See? Much better.
What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by his assassin's bullet.
No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people.
Robert Kennedy, April 5, 1968
You know I used to live in Arizona. In Tucson. In the 8th District, Pima County. To say I was saddened by the shooting of House Democrat Gabrielle Giffords is an understatement, saddened, but not shocked. This is where we've come to, people. Words are not just words, violent rhetoric leads to ... well, to this. Sure, Jared Loughner is a crazy person, but from here it certainly looks like he's a crazy person who got inspiration from a toxic political atmosphere, and a crazy person who could get a Glock.
Lest we forget, back in 2008, it was Sarah Palin who whipped up the frenzy against Obama provoking an unprecedented number of death threats against a presidential candidate. It was also Palin who put the gunsights on Democratic districts, including, yes, that of Giffords. You can sign a petition telling Sarah Palin "
Threats of violence have no place in our democracy."
And in the Dept. of Unclear on the Concept, Tea Partier Judson Phillips has described the man who shot Giffords and 18 others as, I kid you not, a "liberal lunatic." Um... yes, well. You may uncross your eyes now.
Keith Olberman had a Special Comment that captured things well. "We need to put the gun metaphors away."
In all seriousness, I call this my Political Rant, but what I hope to do with this ranting is to inform--to amuse, for sure-- but also to get information out there, not to spark mere outrage, but to fuel debate.
If you think I'm not doing that enough, feel free to call me on it!
Til next time, folks!